Saturday 8 March 2014

Earning Brownie Points

Ah BPs, that essential commodity for the married birder. So hard to gain, incredibly easy to burn, and often particularly short-lived, disappearing before your very eyes seemingly without having been spent. Winter is usually the best earning period, and it's important to build up a decent stock before the onset of Spring. There is no fixed exchange rate. For instance useful tasks performed just after a very hectic birding period often earn nothing at first, so deep in the red are you, and only after a while does the counter start ticking. It may initially advance quite rapidly, even perhaps going into the black, as even the slightest of efforts is frankly amazing after such a long period of shame. But conversely, just as you think you can do no wrong and might be gaining a really solid platform, so the rate of accumulation drops, and you have to do ever more to stay level. In other words it's a mystery only understood by one significant person. The woman in your life. Now of course many birders don't have this problem, or not any more at any rate, and so the need to earn BPs is either non-existent, or but a distant hazy memory. How I envy them.

BPs in Chateau L, whilst not at an all time low, are not currently well positioned for migration at all. The end of last year was one hectic twitch after another, with five new (and distant) birds in four weeks. I've since been to Morocco twice, spent a weekend birding followed by a week working in Scotland, and also been to County Durham, Glamorgan, Gloucestershire, and twice to Kent. When not travelling the length and breadth of the land, I've been working all hours, and thus my contributions to daily life within le manoir have been somewhat minimal. So today, bar a short outing to the patch, I very sensibly stayed at home and did nice things with the family like playing scrabble and sky-watching (Peregrine and Buzzard - kerching!). Tomorrow my plans are exactly the same (though they hope to include Red Kite) and thus I hope that the BP counter may advance slightly. I might go to the dump, which is an easy run. Mind you I have a quick trip to Cyprus coming up that will undoubtedly burn any I get from this weekend and a few more besides. Perhaps I need to pack Mrs L off to Belgium quickly?

Frankly I had hoped that by this stage in the year I would be in better shape, but it has been rather busy. I am not complaining though, with four ticks in eight days during February, and the exciting periods of the year yet to come, I don't really care how many BPs it has cost! Not only that though, but this included yet another two-tick day with the Duck and the Gull. Every time I have one I say I'll probably never have one again but they seem to keep on coming. I have not done any real research into list progression, but it doesn't seem to be slowing down quite as I thought it might. The chances of ever having a positive BP balance ever again are therefore looking remote.

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